The Bears added a backup center on Sunday, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with Brian de la Puente.
De la Puente spent the previous three seasons with the Saints, where he played in 48 games with 44 starts. He started every game the past two seasons.
In 2013, de la Puente had a +4.0 grade from Pro Football Focus, which was good for 16th among centers. In 2012, he had the second-best grade for centers by PFF’s metrics with a +23.0.
De la Puente will immediately be the No. 2 center to Roberto Garza, who re-signed with the Bears on a one-year deal. Garza is 35, while de la Puente turns 29 in May. He will reunite with Aaron Kromer, the Bears’ offensive coordinator who was with the Saints in 2011 and 2012.
De la Puente played his college ball at California and entered the NFL in 2008 as an undrafted rookie with the 49ers, but didn’t play in a regular-season game until 2011. He spent time on the practice squads of the Chiefs, Seahawks and Panthers.
Interestingly enough, de la Puente got his NFL debut when former Bear Olin Kreutz got hurt and then retired in the 2011 season.
According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, de la Puente’s one-year deal is a minimum-salary benefit contract with a $65,000 signing bonus and $100,000 in base salary guaranteed.